The University of Cincinnati men's soccer team, seeded No. 5 in the BIG EAST Red Division, opens BIG EAST Championship play with a first-round contest at No. 10/7 Marquette, seeded fourth in the Blue Division, on Wednesday, Oct. 31, at 8 p.m. The winner will face Red Division champion Louisville on Saturday, Nov. 3, at Cardinal Park.
Cincinnati set a school record with its fifth consecutive shutout against Syracuse on Sept. 29 and extended the streak to six with a 0-0 draw vs. No. 21/20 USF. The Bearcats' shutout streak was snapped at 672 minutes at No. 12/16 St. John's on Oct. 6.
Prior to the start of this streak, UC's previous record of four consecutive shutouts came Oct. 27-Nov. 7, 2007. Cincinnati posted a 1-0 win over Villanova, 2-0 win vs. Michigan State, 1-0 win at Rutgers, and 2-0 win at Providence in the 2007 BIG EAST Tournament opener.
Prior to the home loss against Western Michigan on Oct. 10, goalkeeper Taylor Hafling had posted six consecutive shutouts and has eight on the season. He leads the BIG EAST and he is ranked 21st in the nation in saves with 79. Hafling's eight shutouts are tied for second in the BIG EAST.
Regular starter at centerback Richardo Israel missed the Sept. 26 match against Cleveland State due to accumulated yellow cards. He started the first nine matches of the year. Israel returned to the starting rotation against Syracuse (Sept. 29) and played all 90 minutes.
Cincinnati's win against the Panthers was the first for the Bearcats in Pittsburgh, having lost, 2-1, in 2006 at Founder's Field.
Under Dayes, UC has never lost to USF in Gettler Stadium, posting a 3-0-3 mark against the southern soccer power.
Senior forward Leon Powell made his first appearance of the season against Cleveland State on Sept. 26. An expected starter, Powell injured his knee in UC's exhibition finale against Michigan and missed the first nine games of the regular season. Powell recorded his first goal of the season in a 2-1 double overtime loss versus Western Michigan on Oct. 10.
In 2011, UC posted a 6-11-1 overall mark, including a 2-7-0 ledger in BIG EAST play. The Bearcats failed to advance to the BIG EAST Tournament for just the second time since joining the league in 2005.
A bevy of young but experienced players will take the pitch in 2012, including sophomores forward DeNormandie (18 starts in 2011), defender Will Diebold (14 starts), midfielders Matt Remaley (12 starts), Emmanuel Appiah (12 starts), and Ashani Walker (seven starts).
The Glorious Return of...:
Matt Bahner, a 2010 second-team All-BIG EAST midfielder, returns to the squad for his fifth season after missing the entire 2011 campaign with a knee injury.
Bahner led the Bearcats with seven goals and six assists in 2010 and has 13 career goals to his name.
Bahner scored his first goal of the season on Sept. 2 at No. 22 Xavier and scored the game winner against Syracuse on Sept. 29.
Peter Jannelli, who last played with the Bearcats during the 2009 season, started in the midfield in the first two contests, assisting on the game-winning goal in the 1-0 victory against Drake on Aug. 24.
Martinez scored his first career goal in the 1-0 overtime victory against Gardner-Webb on Sept. 16. Martinez's 98th-minute goal came in his second appearance in the Bearcat uniform.
Manga tallied his first career goal in the 1-0 win at Pitt on Sept. 22. He was named BIG EAST Rookie of the Week on Sept. 24.
Robinson and Martinez were named to TopDrawerSoccer.com's Top 100 Freshmen list. Martinez came in at No. 73, while Robinson ranked No. 97.
BIG EAST/National Honors:
Cole DeNormandie was named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 22 after being a part of all four goals scored for the Bearcats in the last two matches. In a 3-3 tie at DePaul, he scored once and added two assists. On Saturday vs. Rutgers, he scored the game winning goal in the 88th minute of regulation time to lead UC to a 1-0 victory.
Cole DeNormandie was one of five BIG EAST players named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week on Oct. 22. DeNormandie, a 2011 BIG EAST All-Rookie honoree, has started all 17 matches for the Bearcats this season. He has three goals on the season, including two game winners against Drake and Rutgers. He has also chipped in with four assists on the season.
John Manga was named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week on Sept. 24 after scoring his first career goal and game winner in the Bearcats 1-0 win at Pittsburgh on Sept. 22 in the BIG EAST opener for both teams.
Taylor Hafling was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll on Sept. 17 after making 12 saves and posting shutouts against Gardner-Webb and Towson.
Cole DeNormandie was named to the BIG EAST All-Rookie team following the 2011 campaign. He led the Bearcats with seven goals and 15 points.
This season, freshman defender Gabriel Robinson (No. 97) and freshman midfielder Jacob Martinez (No. 73) were named to TopDrawerSoccer.com's Top 100 Freshmen list.
The Bearcats were picked to finish sixth in the BIG EAST Red Division by the league's coaches and finished fifth, earning a BIG EAST Tournament berth.
UC has topped its preseason expectations in all but two seasons since joining the BIG EAST in 2005.
Ranking the Foes:
The Bearcats have 13 wins over ranked opponents under Hylton Dayes (since 2001).
UC is 13-33-7 against Top 25 foes since 2001, including a win against No. 1 Connecticut on Sept. 16, 2005, in Gettler Stadium.
The Bearcats are 0-4-1 against ranked teams this season, falling 3-0 to No. 12/9 Indiana on Aug. 26, 2-1 at No. 22 Xavier on Sept. 2, 3-0 at No. 12/16 St. John's on Oct. 6, 1-0 to No. 14/18 Louisville on Oct. 27, and tying No. 21/20 USF 0-0 following double overtime on Oct. 3.